You have many assets to leave to your heirs and your wishes as to how they will be distributed are all written in your will. Many people think that it’s just that simple; you have a Will, everything is distributed as said in the Will and no probate is needed. However, that is not the case. Probate proceedings after death occur whether a person dies with or without a will. Terms of the will and the nature and size of the decedent’s estate govern whether an estate must be probated. So what can you do to avoid your family having to go through the probate process in Florida? One of the most common ways to avoid probate is to have a Living Trust. The maker of the will also creates the trust and designates themselves as the trustee. Living trusts are revocable, meaning they can be changed. It is only at the time of death that a successor trustee of the trust has authority. The successor trustee then distributes the trust assets in accordance with the terms of the living trust. No probate needed. When properly made, a living trust can also ensure that estate and inheritance taxes are minimized, making it possible for your heirs to receive more of your estate. However, in order to be effective, your assets must be transferred to, and titled in the name of the trust. Once that is done, those assets are owned by the trust instead of you and are controlled by the trustee. With a Living Trust, you control your assets while you’re alive, and the trust controls your assets after you’re gone. Probate can cost your family a great deal of emotional stress AND money. If you are concerned with your loved ones having to deal with the probate process after you are gone, you might want to hire an experienced attorney and look into having a Living Trust made for you.
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